Monday, May 30, 2011

Penguins on both channels

David Farrar is now blogging on both Fairfax and APN news sites. I can't recall another instance of an opinionist regularly featuring in both the Herald and Stuff (outside of MPs, Ministers and PMs. Occasional rants from Garth McVicar and Bob McCroskrie notwithstanding). Methinks the Penguin is aiming for complete saturation of the populace.

Meantime, the political purist in me has died a little with the Whale v. Duck challenge. The battle of ideas has gone to the dogs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Labour reveals another cleavage

The Labour Party locked out the press (and by extension, the public) at their election year congress recently. Is this the same Labour Party who held the Open Labour forum last year?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rasputin in a Dress

Today's Top 10 at points to Adam Curtis' latest doco, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The featured vid, accurately explained featuring Bill Phillips' MONIAC, is actually part 3 of another Curtis doco, Pandora's Box.

Part 1 of part 1 of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is here, and focuses squarely on New York's Rasputin in a Dress, Ayn Rand. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 here. Two more episodes to look forward to soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wellywood; Cringe Harder

FYI, the Skull & Bones Wellywood sign generator is back up and running:

There's also another generator with greater sign length here:
The Facebook group Wellingtonians Against the Wellywood Sign continues to grow, but short of buying the hill off the airport, it looks as if the Airport Board are going ahead with the sign. It seems they are deaf to criticism as well as taste blind.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flowery Twats

In the past, NZ culture has celebrated kitsch and hokum as part its cultural cringe identity. For example:

Some have dared challenge this "over-sized objects as tourist destination" schtick and focused on activities that visitors might actually enjoy, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, tramping. I support these endeavours as they help bury the rancid corpse of cultural cringe in the past where it belongs.

But there's always some flowery twats who wants to bring it all back in bold like a bad acid flashback in flares and tie-dyed jokes once more. It looks like the Miramar escarpment is going to have a Wellywood sign after all.

If anyone's running a sweepstake on how long it'll take between installation and defacement, I'll buy into that for a dollar.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Escape from Pleasantville

Growing up in Palmy, I had a rather traditional NZ childhood upbringing. Hours and days of glorious solitude. Laissez faire parenting with the occasional slap from the invisible hand. Moving homes, moving towns, moving in fits and starts. Family quality time compressed into the confines of a moving vehicle, with all its "Are we there yet?" brittleness.

Escape was the goal. I realised that the first time I tried to run away at age five. Alas, there was nowhere to run to. Then I discovered books:

Nicked from here, HT BoingBoing.
Books were the only thing that lasted in our house, and they were plentiful. The old man made me burn many things, but never a book.

When I visit friends with kids these days, I keep a quiet note of the quality and quantity of their libraries. It's not a snob point, it is a matter of access to education for their sprogs. Or themselves, for that matter. Alas, the tidings are not good. Brains cannot be fed on sports biographies and recipe books alone.

And yet, my highly selective polling of NZ homes fares much better than the ones done on US households:
1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.
That's ripped from here, which has much more depressing evidence of the continuing decline in American intelligence. But screw the adults, what about the children?
As many as 42 percent of American children come from families without the “luxury” disposable income to purchase new books, according to a NYTimes “Fixes” blog post, and tens of millions of families have no books at home at all.
HT Melville House Publishing via onegoodmove.

This will not have a happy ending.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview with a seriously stressed mouse

For your viewing pleasure, NZ PM John Key on Hard Talk:

LOL from Gordon Campbell on the cross examination:
At times, the interview does look like a very large cat (interviewer Stephen Sackur) playing with and batting around a seriously stressed mouse. It is also a model of how rewarding it can be to watch a polite, persistent and well researched interviewer engage with a public figure. Good television, all around. Shame that such programmes are now an extinct species in this country.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Before the courts

Blogging will be light this week as I am in the public gallery (along with other supporters) in Courtroom 8 in Auckland District Court, where Dakta Green is before a jury trial on cannabis related charges. There's no sign of the MSM and the court officials won't let me take notes, so my lips are zipped until after the verdict.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Being Gundog Malkovich

This year J Day shares the same day as the start of duck hunting. Usually J Day clashes with May Day, but this time it's the duck hunter shotgun dawn chorus that we're clashing with this year. I haven't been duck hunting since the old poacher died but just to show I'm a tolerant pluralist, here's one for our maimai whanau. Gundog cam:

J Day

Albert Park, 4:20pm, J Day

Thursday, May 05, 2011

NZ cannabis culture old and new

Click image to embiggen:

Good old Burton Silver's Bogor from back in the day.

And now, here's the pilot episode of The Daktory's new webshow The Dak Show with Jazz fresh off the presses:

Fun with tinnitus

Whoever chose the file photo for this story does not have a clue what tinnitus is. The unknown model in the the photo makes tinnitus look like the latest pop tune, instead of the piercing chrirruping, buzzing or ringing sound that will not stop. Cupping your ears like a Royal Wedding extra does not help. No tinnitus sufferers do this.

On the off-chance that the photo was supposed to offer false hope (the story actually adds greater complexity to the mysteries of tinnitus, far from the Cure Almost Here headline ), the more realistic photo would portray a weary nervous wreck sighing in relief.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Law Commission on Drugs - First Scan

The Law Commission has released its long anticipated final report on the review of The Misuse of Drugs Act. After a first scan of the entire document, I'd say the report is largely better than the present methods, but still long short of where we should be.

There's a lot of yeah but nah but yeah's in there. For example, the Law Commission recommends that possession of drug utensils should be removed as a crime, but the sale and import thereof should stay illegal. The Law Commission recommends removing the police right to search without warrant any place, but insist the right to search people and vehicles without warrant should remain.

After much pondering by the Law Commission, they decided that the disproportionate search without warrant for a micron of cannabis should stay as the alternative options were all too hard.

The Mandatory Cautioning Scheme is suggested to replace the Adult Diversion Scheme, allowing cannabis users caught in the police net up to three chances to renounce their drug preference before they are thrown to the counsellors in the re-education camps.

To the vanilla people, this all seems so nice and reasonable. To one immersed in the cannabis culture, it's a pat on the head and a slap on the wrist from the Know It All brigade. It's a similar kind of offence to telling a Maori kid not to speak their language in school, as it was up until not so long ago. Or arresting a queer and saying you'll let them off if they swear to heterosexuality. It was an official attitude like that that killed Alan Turing.

Cannabis is not so much an addiction as a way of life, so please don't medicalise and outlaw my perspective. That's the sort of state attitude that gets the Falun Gong into trouble in China. We aspire to treat people as humans in this country, so stop trying to cure me.

Second scan soon.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Succession Failure

David Farrar is asking the wrong question in his latest Kiwiblog poll:

The far righter question would be:

Scary scary scary.